Friday Favourites

Visit Cairngorms Favourites – Wildlife

We have been thrilled to see the Cairngorms National Park in all its glory on Winterwatch filmed on location at the Dell in Nethy Bridge.

This blog focuses on the amazing wildlife we have here that has become the stars of our screens.

When you are out and about exploring our beautiful Cairngorms National Park keep your eyes peeled and with a little bit of luck you can see all the animals featured on the programme. The National Park is home to 25% of the UK’s threatened bird, animal and plant species.

1. Red Squirrel
One of the our cutest inhabitants, you can see these all around the pine forests and you can often see them running across the road or when out on a walk. @neilandersonhighland captured this amazing shot of two red squirrels in their drey (nest).

2. Crested Tit
The crested tit is only found in the Highland forests and the breeding population is only around 2000 pairs. @abbinora caught this brilliant picture of this bird with a very distinctive black and white crest.

3. Black Grouse
Black Grouse are found on open moorland near forestry and have a very intrigueing behaviour known as lekking. There are a number of places in the Cairngorms where you can see this.  Local guides  can take you out to spot these amazing birds. @jamesshooterphoto is a local photographer who gets out in all conditions and captures some amazing wildlife images.

4. Pine Marten
The are elusive creatures but occasionally seen out and about. Or join a guide such as @speysidewildlife and watch these animals at dusk.

5. Mountain Hare
These animals are only found above 500m and there coats change to match the seasons. This can become a problem if there is a large snow melt in the middle of winter and they stand out in there white coat against the heather. @abbinora caught this one sitting quiet. Look out for them throughout the year when walking in the hills.

6. Reindeer
The Cairngorm Reindeer Herd is Britain’s only free-ranging herd of reindeer. They are tame and friendly but still have a wild side. The footage of the 2014 rut by Maramedia was amazing showing Gandi & Bovril’s epic fight!

7. Ptarmigan
These amazing birds change colour with the seasons and tend to be found on the arctic like landscape of the Cairngorms. You will see them when walking or skiing in the mountains. caught this bird in between plummage changes.

8. Red Deer
@petercairnsphotography caught a great pic of a red deer in the snow. In the winter the deer come lower down the mountains in search of food.

9.  Capercaillie
80% of the UK population of capercaillie live here in the Cairngorms National Park. They are a rare but spectacular sight in the forest.

@NeilMcIntyre3 captured this amazing shot last summer of an osprey catching a trout at Rothiemurchus The fishery on the estate is a popular spot for the ospreys and a great place to watch them fishing. You can gain access to the hide through the fishery or take part in one of their early morning osprey photography sessions . Over 14m people watched the #Highlands video of the osprey fishing at Rothiemurchus on facebook. Why not come and see it for yourself.

You can see many of these animals when out exploring the Cairngorms or hire a guide or take a safari. You can also join a Ranger Event see We look forward to hearing about your experiences and seeing your pictures. Tag us @visitcairngorms or #visitcairngorms

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